He called information and asked for a Chicago listing for A. S. Beckham (her husband was psychologist Albert S. Beckham). He dialed the number and Dr. Ruth Howard picked up the phone. They spoke for nearly an hour and Dr. Guthrie recorded the entire interview.
“Lo and behold I received a number; I couldn’t believe it.”
The phone interview is one of just a handful of known original artifacts for Dr. Ruth W. Howard. She speaks candidly with Dr. Guthrie about her upbringing in Washington DC and her quest toward a doctorate in psychology that took her to numerous universities until she finally earned her Ph.D. in psychology in 1934 from the University of Minnesota. They discussed her work in private practice alongside her husband Dr. Albert S. Beckham as well as her independent work within the Chicago mental health community following his death in 1964.
Throughout the early part of the interview Dr. Guthrie repeatedly referred to her as Dr. or Mrs. Beckham. Finally after roughly 20 minutes she had enough.
“I would appreciate it if you could call me Dr. Ruth Howard….”
The Cummings Center introduces a new series of short films from the Archives of the History of American Psychology!
The series tells stories of people, objects, and topics found in our archives, and includes collection notes if you are interested in doing some related research. (All on- and off-site research requests can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The research team of the 5 Minute History Lesson consists of Cummings Center staff and graduate students. Film production is the work of current undergraduate student assistant Jon Endres of The University of Akron’s College of Communications.
The first episode, premiering here, is about the work and life of psychologist James V. McConnell. Episode 2: Ruth Howard Beckham will debut this summer.